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By Rob Tricchinelli

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Extra info for Arizona Diamondbacks

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The 6-foot-10 Johnson was very intimidating and had one of baseball’s best fastballs. One unlucky bird found out the hard way. In a Diamondbacks springtraining game against the San Francisco Giants on March 24, 2001, in Tucson, Arizona, a bird flew across the field and was struck by the lanky left-hander’s fastball in the seventh inning. The bird’s feathers flew all over when it was hit. Unfortunately, the bird did not survive. “I’m sitting there waiting for [the ball], and I’m expecting to catch the thing and all you see is an explosion,” Arizona catcher Rod Barajas said.

For most of the 2008 led by Webb (22–7) and Haren season, things were looking just (16–8), also was a strength. fine for Arizona. The Diamond- But things would not work backs held the NL West lead for out well for Arizona in 2009. much of the season. Haren and First, Webb pitched very well. John- his hometown San Francisco son, who had returned from his Giants. He would go 8–6 in back injury, was a solid third his final big-league season and starter at the age of 44. The finish with a career record of team’s young lineup was also 303–166.

Baseball’s top pitchers. He fin- movement. 10 ERA to million option to bring Gonza- win the NL Cy Young Award. lez back for the next season. Meanwhile, Bank One Ball- Gonzalez left as the most suc- park’s name had changed to cessful hitter in Diamondbacks Chase Field. history. But as the legendary After the season, popu- player went elsewhere, Arizo- lar left fielder Luis Gonzalez na’s youngsters would give the departed to sign with the Los team’s fans reason to be excited. Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks were going with a youth THE TUMBLE 33 CHAPTER 5 "BABY BACKS" AND GROWING PAINS B y the time the 2007 season arrived, youth had taken over for Arizona.

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Arizona Diamondbacks by Rob Tricchinelli

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